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FTR #927 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 6: Locker Room Eclipse

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by ear­ly win­ter of 2016. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.) (The pre­vi­ous flash dri­ve was cur­rent through the end of May of 2012.)

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

thinkbignkickass [6]

NB: This descrip­tion con­tains mate­r­i­al not includ­ed in the orig­i­nal broad­cast

Intro­duc­tion: In the sec­ond week of Octo­ber, the Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign has been dom­i­nat­ed by dis­cus­sion of, and reac­tion to, Don­ald Trump’s vul­gar com­ments about women, some­thing he dis­missed as “lock­er room ban­ter.” This dynam­ic has eclipsed far more impor­tant issues about Trump, his asso­ci­a­tions, his her­itage (past and future), his finan­cial deal­ings, his eco­nom­ic poli­cies (or lack there­of) and the future of the polit­i­cal forces he has con­jured. This pro­gram attempts to deal with those con­sid­er­a­tions.

Among those con­sid­er­a­tions are:

We will explore key points high­light­ed in this pro­gram at greater length in pro­grams to come.

Pro­gram and Descrip­tion High­lights Include: 

1. No one should be sur­prised to learn that Trump is a believ­er in eugen­ics, appar­ent­ly part of his her­itage from his father Fred.

“Don­ald Trump Believes He Has Supe­ri­or Genes, Biog­ra­ph­er Claims” by Car­o­line Mor­timer; The Inde­pen­dent; 9/30/2016. [7]

Repub­li­can nom­i­nee fol­lows ‘race­horse the­o­ry’ of genet­ics

Don­ald Trump has been accused of believ­ing in the “race­horse the­o­ry” of genet­ics, which claims some peo­ple are genet­i­cal­ly supe­ri­or to oth­ers.

In an inter­view for US TV chan­nel PBS [8], the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nominee’s biog­ra­ph­er Michael D’Antonio claimed the candidate’s father, Fred Trump, had taught him that the family’s suc­cess was genet­ic.

He said: “The fam­i­ly sub­scribes to a race­horse the­o­ry of human devel­op­ment.

“They believe that there are supe­ri­or peo­ple and that if you put togeth­er the genes of a supe­ri­or woman and a supe­ri­or man, you get a supe­ri­or off­spring.”

The the­o­ry, known as eugen­ics [9], first emerged dur­ing the 19th cen­tu­ry and was used as a pre­text for the ster­il­i­sa­tion of dis­abled peo­ple until the prac­tice was dis­cred­it­ed after the Sec­ond World War.

Adolf Hitler’s [10] jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the Holo­caust [11] – in which 11 mil­lion peo­ple were killed, 6 mil­lion of them Jew­ish – was based on a sim­i­lar the­o­ry of racial hier­ar­chy.

The PBS doc­u­men­tary fea­tured clips of Mr Trump on the cam­paign tri­al claim­ing that he “believes in the gene thing” and say­ing he had a “very high apti­tude”.

It also ran footage of pre­vi­ous inter­views from the real estate magnate’s time as a real­i­ty TV star in which he shared his thoughts on the sub­ject, includ­ing a 2010 inter­view with CNN. [52].

He said: “Well I think I was born with the dri­ve for suc­cess because I have a cer­tain gene.

“I’m a gene believ­er… Hey, when you con­nect two race hors­es, you usu­al­ly end up with a fast horse.

“I had a good gene pool from the stand­point of that, so I was pret­ty much dri­ven.”

Mr Trump has become noto­ri­ous for his brava­do on the cam­paign trail and claimed he could solve prob­lems that have plagued pol­i­cy­mak­ers for decades with ease because he is a “smart guy”. [53]

At a ral­ly in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. in Sep­tem­ber 2015, Mr Trump claimed that, if he became pres­i­dent, “we’ll win so much, you’ll get bored with win­ning”.

2a. In FTR #‘s 918 [54] and 919 [55], we explored the Buerg­er Zeitung’s “Open Let­ter to Stal­in,” a gam­bit that we feel cor­re­sponds well to Don­ald Trump’s rel­a­tive­ly benign com­ments bout Putin/Ukraine/Crimea etc. In addi­tion to the “all things Steuben” ori­en­ta­tion of Trump advi­sor Joseph E. Schmitz, we note Don­ald Trump’s links to the Steuben Soci­ety milieu.

“Don­ald Trump;”  wikipedia. [47]

. . . . Trump has said that he is proud of his Ger­man her­itage; he served as grand mar­shal [48] of the 1999 Ger­man-Amer­i­can Steuben Parade [49] in New York City.[12] [50][nb 1] [51]. . . . .

2b. Trump has, in fact, digest­ed Hitler’s rhetor­i­cal style, hav­ing acquired and read a book of Hitler’s speech­es.

“After the Gold Rush” by Marie Bren­ner; Van­i­ty Fair; 9/1990. [45]

. . . . Don­ald Trump appears to take aspects of his Ger­man back­ground seri­ous­ly. John Wal­ter works for the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion, and when he vis­its Don­ald in his office, Ivana told a friend, he clicks his heels and says, “Heil Hitler,” pos­si­bly as a fam­i­ly joke.

. . . . Ivana Trump told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that from time to time her hus­band reads a book of Hitler’s col­lect­ed speech­es, My New Order, which he keeps in a cab­i­net by his bed. . . . Hitler’s speech­es, from his ear­li­est days up through the Pho­ny War of 1939, reveal his extra­or­di­nary abil­i­ty as a mas­ter pro­pa­gan­dist. . . .

2c. Ear­li­er this year, a con­tro­ver­sy emerged when old news­pa­per arti­cles about arrests at a 1927 Klan ral­ly in Queens (New York City) men­tioned a “Fred Trump” as among the “ber­obed marchers” arrest­ed at the event.Although the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of Trump’s father as one of the Klan par­tic­i­pants has not been defin­i­tive­ly estab­lished, The Don­ald lied when con­front­ed with the address of the arrest­ed Fred Trump.

” . . . . asked if his father had lived at 175–24 Devon­shire Road—the address list­ed for the Fred Trump arrest­ed at the 1927 Klan rally—Donald dis­missed the claim as “total­ly false.”

“We lived on Ware­ham,” he told Horowitz. “The Devonshire—I know there is a road ‘Devon­shire,’ but I don’t think my father ever lived on Devon­shire.” Trump went on to deny every­thing else in the Times’ account of the 1927 ral­ly: “It shouldn’t be writ­ten because it nev­er hap­pened, num­ber one. And num­ber two, there was nobody charged.”

Bio­graph­i­cal records con­firm that the Trump fam­i­ly did live on Ware­ham Place in Queens in the 1940s, when Don­ald was a kid. But accord­ing to at least one archived news­pa­per clip, Fred Trump also lived at 175–24 Devon­shire Road: A wed­ding announce­ment in the Jan­u­ary 22, 1936 issue of the Long Island Dai­ly Press, places Fred Trump at that address, and refers to his wife as “Mary MacLeod,” which is Don­ald Trump’s mother’s maid­en name. . . .”

It seems alto­geth­er prob­a­ble that The Don­ald’s father was the “Fred Trump” arrest­ed at the ral­ly for “fail­ing to dis­perse,” but Fred Trump’s spe­cif­ic activ­i­ties at the Klan Ral­ly have not been estab­lished.

In the con­text of assess­ing the deep pol­i­tics sur­round­ing Trump, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of Klan par­tic­i­pa­tion by his father is inter­est­ing and pos­si­bly rel­e­vant. In Under Cov­er [56] (avail­able for down­load for free on this web­site), the exten­sive net­work­ing between dom­i­nant ele­ments of the KKK and var­i­ous Fifth Col­umn orga­ni­za­tions in this coun­try is cov­ered at length.

One of those Fifth Col­umn orga­ni­za­tions was Amer­i­ca First–again, Trump has appro­pri­at­ed that name.

Also of inter­est in the con­text of the “Fred Trump” arrest­ed at the Klan Ral­ly is the fact that David Duke has been an enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­er of Trump, who was alto­geth­er hes­i­tant about dis­avow­ing Duke’s sup­port.

All the Evi­dence We Could Find About Fred Trump’s Alleged Involve­ment with the KKK” by Mike Pearl; Vice News; 3/9/2016. [46]

Late last month, in an inter­view with Repub­li­can fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump, CNN host Jake Tap­per asked the can­di­date whether he would dis­avow an endorse­ment from long­time Ku Klux Klan leader and white nation­al­ist celebri­ty David Duke. Trump declined. “I don’t know any­thing about David Duke,” he said. Moments lat­er, he added, “I know noth­ing about white suprema­cists.”

Trump has since walked back his com­ments, blam­ing his hes­i­tance to con­demn the Klan on a “bad ear­piece.” The mat­ter has now been filed away into the ever-grow­ing archives of volatile state­ments Trump has made about race and eth­nic­i­ty dur­ing the cur­rent elec­tion cycle—a list that includes kick­ing off his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign by call­ing Mex­i­cans rapists, call­ing for the “‘total and com­plete shut­down of Mus­lims enter­ing the Unit­ed States,” and com­ment­ing that per­haps a Black Lives Mat­ter pro­test­er at one of his ral­lies “should have been roughed up.”

But the par­tic­u­lars of the David Duke inci­dent call to mind yet anoth­er news sto­ry, one that sug­gests that Trump’s father, the late New York real estate titan Fred Trump, once wore the robe and hood of a Klans­man.

Ver­sions of this sto­ry emerged last Sep­tem­ber when Boing Boing dug up an old New York Times arti­cle from May of 1927 that list­ed a Fred Trump among those arrest­ed at a Klan ral­ly in Jamaica, Queens, when “1,000 Klans­men and 100 police­men staged a free-for-all,” in the streets. Don­ald Trump’s father would have been 21 in 1927 and had spent most of his life in Queens.

As Boing Boing point­ed out, the Times account sim­ply names Fred Trump as one of the sev­en indi­vid­u­als arrest­ed at the ral­ly, and it states that he was released with­out charges, leav­ing room for the pos­si­bil­i­ty that he “may have been an inno­cent bystander, false­ly named, or oth­er­wise the vic­tim of mis­tak­en iden­ti­ty dur­ing or fol­low­ing a chaot­ic event.”

A few weeks after Boing Boing unearthed that 88-year-old scoop, the New York Times asked Don­ald Trump about the pos­si­bil­i­ty that his father had been arrest­ed at a Klan event. The younger Trump denied it all, telling inter­view­er Jason Horowitz that “it nev­er hap­pened” four times. When Horowitz asked if his father had lived at 175–24 Devon­shire Road—the address list­ed for the Fred Trump arrest­ed at the 1927 Klan rally—Donald dis­missed the claim as “total­ly false.”

“We lived on Ware­ham,” he told Horowitz. “The Devonshire—I know there is a road ‘Devon­shire,’ but I don’t think my father ever lived on Devon­shire.” Trump went on to deny every­thing else in the Times’ account of the 1927 ral­ly: “It shouldn’t be writ­ten because it nev­er hap­pened, num­ber one. And num­ber two, there was nobody charged.”

Bio­graph­i­cal records con­firm that the Trump fam­i­ly did live on Ware­ham Place in Queens in the 1940s, when Don­ald was a kid. But accord­ing to at least one archived news­pa­per clip, Fred Trump also lived at 175–24 Devon­shire Road: A wed­ding announce­ment in the Jan­u­ary 22, 1936 issue of the Long Island Dai­ly Press, places Fred Trump at that address, and refers to his wife as “Mary MacLeod,” which is Don­ald Trump’s mother’s maid­en name.

More­over, three addi­tion­al news­pa­per clips unearthed by VICE con­tain sep­a­rate accounts of Fred Trump’s arrest at the May 1927 KKK ral­ly in Queens, each of which seems to con­firm the Times account of the events that day. While the clips don’t con­firm whether Fred Trump was actu­al­ly a mem­ber of the Klan, they do sug­gest that the rally—and the sub­se­quent arrests—did hap­pen, and did involve Don­ald Trump’s father, con­trary to the candidate’s denials. A fifth arti­cle men­tions the sev­en arrestees with­out giv­ing names, and claims that all of the indi­vid­u­als arrested—presumably includ­ing Trump—were wearing Klan attire.

The June 1, 1927, account of the May 31 Klan ral­ly print­ed in a defunct Brook­lyn paper called the Dai­ly Star spec­i­fies that a Fred Trump “was dis­missed on a charge of refus­ing to dis­perse.” That arti­cle lists sev­en total arrests, and states that four of those arrest­ed were expect­ed to go to court, and two were paroled. Fred Trump was the only one not held on charges.

The Klan’s reac­tion to the alleged police bru­tal­i­ty at the ral­ly was the sub­ject of anoth­er arti­cle, pub­lished in the Queens Coun­ty Evening News on June 2, 1927, and titled “Klan Plac­ards Assail Police, As War Vets Seek Parade Con­trol.” The piece is main­ly about the Klan dis­trib­ut­ing leaflets about being “assault­ed” by the “Roman Catholic police of New York City” at that same ral­ly. The arti­cle men­tions Fred Trump as hav­ing been “dis­charged” and gives the Devon­shire Road address, along with the names and address­es of the oth­er six men who faced charges.

Yet anoth­er account in anoth­er defunct local news­pa­per, the Rich­mond Hill Record, pub­lished on June 3, 1927, lists Fred Trump as one of the “Klan Arrests,” and also lists the Devon­shire Road address.

Anoth­er arti­cle about the ral­ly, pub­lished by the Long Island Dai­ly Press on June 2, 1927, men­tions that there were sev­en arrestees with­out list­ing names, and claims that all of the indi­vid­u­als arrest­ed were wear­ing Klan attire. The sto­ry, titled “Meet­ing on Parade Is Called Off,” focus­es on the police actions at the ral­ly, not­ing crit­i­cism of the cops for bru­tal­ly lash­ing out at the Klan sup­port­ers, who had assem­bled dur­ing a Memo­r­i­al Day parade.

While the Long Island Dai­ly Press doesn’t men­tion Fred Trump specif­i­cal­ly, the num­ber of arrestees cit­ed in the report is con­sis­tent with the oth­er accounts of the ral­ly. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, the arti­cle refers to all of the arrestees as “ber­obed marchers.” If Fred Trump, or anoth­er one of the atten­dees, wasn’t dressed in a robe at the time, that may have been a report­ing error worth cor­rect­ing.

Accord­ing to Rory McVeigh, chair­man of the soci­ol­o­gy depart­ment at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Notre Dame, the ver­sion of the Klan that would have been active in Queens dur­ing the 1920s may not have nec­es­sar­i­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in stereo­typ­i­cal KKK activ­i­ties like fiery cross­es and lynch mobs.

“The Klan that became very pop­u­lar in the ear­ly 1920s did advo­cate white suprema­cy like the orig­i­nal Klan,” McVeigh told VICE in an email. “But in that respect, [its views were] not too much dif­fer­ent from a lot of oth­er white Amer­i­cans of that time peri­od.” In New York, McVeigh added, “the organization’s oppo­si­tion to immi­gra­tion and Catholics prob­a­bly held the biggest appeal for most of the peo­ple who joined.”

None of the arti­cles prove that Fred Trump was a mem­ber of the Klan, and it’s pos­si­ble that he was, as Boing Boing sug­gest­ed, just a bystander at the ral­ly. But while Don­ald Trump is absolute­ly right to say that his father was not charged in the 1927 inci­dent, the candidate’s oth­er claims—that Fred Trump nev­er lived at 175–24 Devon­shire Road, and more impor­tant­ly, that his involve­ment in a Klan ral­ly “nev­er happened”—appear to be untrue.

The Trump cam­paign did not respond to mul­ti­ple requests for com­ment. . . .

3. Appar­ent­ly, Trump’s “supe­ri­or” genes may be fram­ing polit­i­cal debate for some time. We review dis­cus­sion of Don­ald Trump, Jr.‘s role in tweet­ing and re-tweet­ing Nazi dog-whis­tles.

“Trump Jr’s ‘Skit­tles’ Tweet Is Based on Two Dif­fer­ent White Suprema­cist Memes — and Nazi Pro­pa­gan­da” by Travis Get­tys; Raw Sto­ry ; 9/20/2016. [12]

Don­ald Trump Jr. drew wide­spread con­dem­na­tion [13] for com­par­ing Syr­i­an refugees to poi­soned can­dy — but his anal­o­gy isn’t a new one, and it’s based on two sep­a­rate white suprema­cist memes with roots in Nazi pro­pa­gan­da.

Trump — the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial candidate’s eldest son and a top cam­paign sur­ro­gate — tweet­ed the image Mon­day evening in an appar­ent response to the dump­ster bomb­ing over the week­end in New York City, which his dad inapt­ly linked [14] to the refugee cri­sis.

“This image says it all,” reads the text. “Let’s end the polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect agen­da that doesn’t put Amer­i­ca first. #trump2016,” accom­pa­nied by the offi­cial Don­ald Trump/Mike Pence cam­paign logo and slo­gan. The anal­o­gy isn’t new, and has been used for years by white suprema­cists to over­gen­er­al­ize about var­i­ous minor­i­ty groups. “It is often deployed as a way to prop up inde­fen­si­ble stereo­types by tak­ing advan­tage of human igno­rance about base rates, risk assess­ment and crim­i­nol­o­gy,” wrote Emil Karls­son on the blog Debunk­ing Denial­ism [15]. “In the end, it tries to divert atten­tion from the inher­ent big­otry in mak­ing flawed gen­er­al­iza­tions.” A spokes­woman for Wrigley Amer­i­c­as, which makes Skit­tles, whacked Trump’s dehu­man­iz­ing com­par­i­son. “Skit­tles are can­dy. Refugees are peo­ple. We don’t feel it’s an appro­pri­ate anal­o­gy,” said Denise Young [57], vice pres­i­dent of cor­po­rate affairs. “We will respect­ful­ly refrain from fur­ther com­men­tary as any­thing we say could be mis­in­ter­pret­ed as mar­ket­ing.”

Joe Walsh, a sin­gle-term con­gress­man from Illi­nois and now a right-wing talk radio host who’s been boot­ed from the air­waves for using racial slurs [58], bragged that Trump’s meme was near­ly iden­ti­cal to one he had tweet­ed a month ear­li­er.

The anal­o­gy, which has been used on mes­sage boards and shared as social media memes, orig­i­nal­ly used M&Ms as the can­dy in ques­tion — but that changed after George Zim­mer­man gunned down Trayvon Mar­tin while the unarmed black teen was walk­ing home from buy­ing a drink and some Skit­tles.

A Google image search of “skit­tles trayvon meme” [16]reveals a hor­ri­ble boun­ty of cap­tioned images mock­ing the slain teenag­er, whose killer was acquit­ted after claim­ing self-defense under Florida’s “stand your ground” law.

But the poi­soned can­dy anal­o­gy goes back even fur­ther, to an anti-Semit­ic children’s book pub­lished by Julius Stre­ich­er, the pub­lish­er of the Nazi news­pa­per Der Stürmer who was exe­cut­ed in 1946 as a war crim­i­nal.

The book tells the tale of “the poi­so­nous mush­room,” and was used to indoc­tri­nate chil­dren in hate.

“Just as poi­so­nous mush­rooms spring up every­where, so the Jew is found in every coun­try in the world,” the story’s moth­er explains to her son. “Just as poi­so­nous mush­rooms often lead to the most dread­ful calami­ty, so the Jew is the cause of mis­ery and dis­tress, ill­ness and death.”

So Trump’s appalling anal­o­gy isn’t just uno­rig­i­nal and demean­ing — it’s actu­al­ly racist in four dif­fer­ent ways.

4. Roger Stone and Trump, Jr. were por­trayed in an Alt.right tweet endorsed by the Trumpenkampfver­bande. Do not lose sight of the fact that Stone is now net­work­ing with Julian Assange and Wik­iLeaks.

“Trump Ally, Son Share Meme Fea­tur­ing Sym­bol Of White Nation­al­ist Alt-Right” by Alle­gra Kirk­land; Talk­ing Points Memo Livewire; 9/12/2016. [17]

Two mem­bers of Don­ald Trump’s inner cir­cle shared memes on social media over the week­end fea­tur­ing a sym­bol pop­u­lar with the white nation­al­ist alt-right.

Riff­ing off of Hillary Clinton’s remark that some of Trump’s sup­port­ers are racists, misog­y­nists, and xeno­phobes who belong in a “bas­ket of deplorables [18],” the meme shared by Don­ald Trump Jr. and Trump ally Roger Stone showed key Trump allies pho­to­shopped onto a poster from the move “The Expend­ables.” In the edit­ed poster for “The Deplorables,” those armed staffers and Trump boost­ers are shown along­side Pepe the Frog, a car­toon fig­ure that first cropped up on the 4chan web­site and has since become asso­ci­at­ed with the white suprema­cist move­ment online.

Trump, Indi­ana Gov. Mike Pence ®, New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie ®, Ben Car­son, con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones, and alt-right fig­ure­head Milo Yiannopou­los were among those in includ­ed in the image.

“Appar­ent­ly I made the cut as one of the Deplorables,” Trump Jr. wrote on Insta­gram in a cap­tion accom­pa­ny­ing the meme, say­ing he was “hon­ored” to be grouped among Trump’s sup­port­ers.

Infor­mal Trump advi­sor Roger Stone shared the same image on Twit­ter, say­ing he was “so proud to be one of the Deplorables.”

Pepe the Frog has emerged as an unof­fi­cial mas­cot [59]of the alt-right, a loose­ly defined group of white nation­al­ists who con­gre­gate online to debate IQ dif­fer­ences between the races and joke [60] about burn­ing Jew­ish jour­nal­ists in ovens.

Last fall, Trump him­self shared a meme fea­tur­ing him­self as pres­i­dent Pepe. He has retweet­ed users with han­dles like @WhiteGenocideTM on mul­ti­ple occa­sions.

@codyave [61]: @drudgereport [62]@BreitbartNews [63]@Writeintrump [64] “You Can’t Stump the Trump“https://t.co/0xITB7XeJV [65]pic.twitter.com/iF6S05se2w [66]”— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Octo­ber 13, 2015 [67]

Trump has dis­avowed sup­port from the alt-right and white suprema­cists like for­mer KKK Grand Wiz­ard David Duke, though he hired Steve Ban­non, chair­man of the alt-right pro­mot­ing Bre­it­bart News, as his cam­paign CEO in August.

5. Trump, Jr. has polit­i­cal aspi­ra­tions. The grav­i­tas that Snow­den and Wik­iLeaks have with young Amer­i­cans may bear very bit­ter fruit, indeed.

“A Chip off the Old Block” by Dig­by; Hul­la­baloo; 9/21/2016. [20]

I wrote about Trump Jr for Salon this morning:In the begin­ning of the 2016 cam­paign the only one of Don­ald Trump’s five chil­dren with a high pub­lic pro­file was his daugh­ter Ivan­ka who has her own celebri­ty brand just like her father’s. The two old­er sons were unknown to the gen­er­al pub­lic but they made quite a good first impres­sion [68] when the whole fam­i­ly appeared on a CNN fam­i­ly spe­cial. They are all so attrac­tive and glam­orous that many peo­ple came to believe they were Don­ald Trump’s best fea­ture. Indeed, it was said that the fact he’d raised such an admirable fam­i­ly spoke so well of him that it smoothed some of the rough edges of his own per­son­al­i­ty. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, as peo­ple have got­ten to know them bet­ter, they’ve revealed them­selves to be as rough edged as dear old Dad, par­tic­u­lar­ly his name­sake, Don­ald Jr.

For most of the pri­maries Trump proud­ly evoke his two old­er sons when he talked about the 2nd amend­ment, tout­ing their NRA mem­ber­ship and love of guns. It was a lit­tle bit shock­ing to see the ghast­ly pic­tures of their African big game kills includ­ing a hor­rif­ic shot of Trump Jr hold­ing a sev­ered ele­phant tail, but they seemed to oth­er­wise be pret­ty ordi­nary hard-work­ing busi­ness­men devot­ed to their fam­i­ly. For the most part they kept a low pro­file, serv­ing as the usu­al fam­i­ly props in a polit­i­cal cam­paign.

When Don­ald Jr spoke to a white suprema­cist radio host in March [21] it set off a few alarm bells sim­ply because his father’s extreme immi­gra­tion poli­cies had been so ecsta­t­i­cal­ly received by white nation­al­ist groups. But most chalked it up to inex­pe­ri­ence and let it go. Sure­ly Junior wasn’t as crude­ly racist as the old man who was report­ed to keep a book of Hitler speech­es next to the bed [22]. But just a few days lat­er he retweet­ed [23] a racist sci­ence fic­tion writer named Theodore Beale who goes by the han­dle of “Vox Day” claim­ing that a famous pic­ture of a Trump sup­port­er giv­ing a Nazi salute was actu­al­ly a fol­low­er of Bernie Sanders. The apple didn’t fall far from the tree after all.

At the GOP con­ven­tion in July, all four of the grown kids gave heart­felt speech­es about their Dad, even as they made clear through their child­hood anec­dotes that the only time they ever spent with him was at the office and it seemed that Junior in par­tic­u­lar had tak­en a more active role and was seen in a more seri­ous light. peo­ple were talk­ing about him as a mod­er­at­ing voice in the cam­paign.

Right after the con­ven­tion, how­ev­er, he let out a deaf­en­ing dog­whis­tle that left no doubt as to his per­son­al affil­i­a­tion with the far right. He went to the Nesho­ba Coun­ty Fair in Philadel­phia Mis­sis­sip­pi [24], best remem­bered as the place where three civ­il rights work­ers were mur­dered in 1964. But it has spe­cial polit­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance as the site of Ronald Reagan’s famous “states’ rights” speech [25] in 1980 where he sig­naled his sym­pa­thy for white suprema­cy by deliv­er­ing it at the scene of that hor­ren­dous racist crime. (The man who coined the term “wel­fare queen” was always a cham­pi­on dog­whistler.) Trump Jr went there to rep­re­sent and rep­re­sent he did. When asked what he thought about the con­fed­er­ate flag he said [26], “I believe in tra­di­tion. I don’t see a lot of the non­sense that’s been cre­at­ed about that.”

Since then it’s been revealed that he fol­lows a num­ber of white nation­al­ists on twit­ter [27] and he’s retweet­ed sev­er­al includ­ing a a psy­chol­o­gist who believes Jews manip­u­late soci­ety. [28] And in the last cou­ple of weeks Junior has let his alt-right freak flag fly. First he got excit­ed about Hillary Clinton’s “deplorable” com­ment and proud­ly retweet­ed a pic­ture with the title “The Deplorables” [69] that had been mak­ing the rounds fea­tur­ing Trump, Mike Pence, Rudy Giu­liani, Chris Christie, Ben Car­son, Eric Trump and Don­ald Jr along with con­spir­a­cy the­o­rist Alex Jones, right wing hit man Roger Stone, alt-right leader Milo Yia­nop­o­lis and white suprema­cist sym­bol Pepe the Frog. There’s no indi­ca­tion that any of them had a prob­lem with that but a lot of oth­er peo­ple found it to be reveal­ing, to say the least.

A cou­ple of days lat­er Trump Jr stepped in it again, say­ing the media would be “warm­ing up the gas cham­ber” [70] for Repub­li­cans if they lied and cheat­ed the way Hillary Clin­ton does. He claimed he was talk­ing about cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment but his asso­ci­a­tion with vir­u­lent anti-Semi­tes makes that claim ring a lit­tle bit hol­low.

And then there was the Skit­tles inci­dent. Don­ald Jr tweet­ed out a deeply offen­sive image of a bowl of skit­tles with the words “If I had a bowl of Skit­tles and I told you three would kill you would you take a hand­ful? That’s our Syr­i­an refugee prob­lem.” [71] It’s a ter­ri­ble metaphor, wrong in every way and Don­ald Jr took some heat for it. But it’s yet anoth­er win­dow into his asso­ci­a­tion with alt-right white nation­al­ism. That bad metaphor has been around in var­i­ous forms for a long time [72]. In this coun­try it was usu­al­ly a bowl of M&Ms rep­re­sent­ing black peo­ple. [15]. The peo­ple who traf­fic in this garbage fair­ly recent­ly changed it to Skit­tles because that was the can­dy Trayvon Mar­tin had bought on the night he was mur­dered by vig­i­lante George Zim­mer­man. Yes, it’s that sick.

You hear pun­dits and com­men­ta­tors say­ing that Don­ald Trump is sui gener­is and his phe­nom­e­non won’t be recre­at­ed. They’re prob­a­bly right. But per­haps they are not aware that his son also has polit­i­cal ambi­tions [29] and he is sim­ply a younger, bet­ter look­ing ver­sion of his father with much more hair. If alt-right white nation­al­ism is going to be an ongo­ing fea­ture of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal life, they have their leader. He is one of them.

6. More about Trump, Jr. and his polit­i­cal aspi­ra­tions, is in the arti­cle below.

The fun­da­men­tal point to be under­stood here is this: As dis­cussed in FTR #‘s 920 [30], 921 [31] and 922 [32], the Trumpenkampfver­bande is the man­i­fes­ta­tion of the Under­ground Reich meta­mor­phos­ing into an above-ground, mass-based polit­i­cal move­ment. It will not go away. Whether it is led by Don­ald Trump, Jr. (who does not appear to share his father’s incli­na­tion to sex­u­al vul­gar­i­ty and aggres­sion) or some­one else, it will not go away.

“Yikes! Now Don­ald Trump Jr. Says He Would “Love” to Run for Office ‘as a Patri­ot’ ” by Sophia Tes­faye; Salon; 7/20/2016. [29]

After his ques­tion­able speech to the RNC, Trump Jr. said he “would con­sid­er” run­ning once his kids fin­ish school

Call­ing it “one of the most thrilling moments of my life,” Don­ald Trump Jr. brushed aside bur­geon­ing con­tro­ver­sy sur­round­ing the sec­ond Trump fam­i­ly speech at the RNC in as many days while speak­ing with the Wall Street Jour­nal Wednes­day morn­ing.

The old­est son of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee said that while he still has “a lot to do in my own career,” he would seri­ous­ly con­sid­er fol­low­ing in his father’s foot­steps out of real estate and into polit­i­cal life.

The 38-year-old New York­er said that “maybe when the kids get out of school I would con­sid­er it.” The father of five explained that he’d “love to be able to do it, as a patri­ot.”

His seem­ing­ly pre­ma­ture flir­ta­tion with polit­i­cal office comes hours after he deliv­ered a major address to the RNC Tues­day evening — a speech that has already been flagged as a poten­tial sec­ond case of Trump fam­i­ly pla­gia­rism.

https://twitter.com/TheDailyShow/status/755601024908300288 [73]

While Trump Jr. told [74] Fox News’ Sean Han­ni­ty that “We [the Trump kids] all took a lot of pride. We all wrote the speech­es our­selves,” Amer­i­can Con­ser­v­a­tive colum­nist told [75] Vox News that the appar­ent­ly lift­ed por­tions can’t be con­sid­ered pla­gia­rism because he wrote both the orig­i­nal col­umn and the Trump’s speech.

So while he may not be a pla­gia­riz­er in the new con­ser­v­a­tive def­i­n­i­tion [76] of the word (my col­lege pro­fes­sors always warned against recy­cling my own work for new cours­es) it looks like we may have anoth­er Don­ald Trump pop­ping up on the polit­i­cal land­scape very soon.

 

7. Don­ald Trump’s bank of choice: Deutsche Bank! As the arti­cle below points out, it’s a long rela­tion­ship going back to the ear­ly 90’s, with at least $2.5 bil­lion lent. Even when the 2008 crash strained Trump’s rela­tion­ship with Deutsche Bank, the com­pa­ny’s pri­vate bank­ing arm con­tin­ued to back “The Don­ald.”

“When Don­ald Trump Needs a Loan, He Choos­es Deutsche Bank” by Anupree­ta Das; The Wall Street Jour­nal; 3/20/2016. [34]

Despite some clash­es, the Repub­li­can front-run­ner has been a reg­u­lar client of the Ger­man lender

One of Don­ald Trump’s clos­est allies on Wall Street is a now-strug­gling Ger­man bank.

While many big banks have shunned him, Deutsche Bank AG has been a stead­fast finan­cial backer of the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial candidate’s busi­ness inter­ests. Since 1998, the bank has led or par­tic­i­pat­ed in loans of at least $2.5 bil­lion to com­pa­nies affil­i­at­ed with Mr. Trump, accord­ing to a Wall Street Jour­nal analy­sis of pub­lic records and peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter.

That doesn’t include at least anoth­er $1 bil­lion in loan com­mit­ments that Deutsche Bank made to Trump-affil­i­at­ed enti­ties.

The long-stand­ing con­nec­tion makes Frank­furt-based Deutsche Bank, which has a large U.S. oper­a­tion and has been grap­pling with rep­u­ta­tion­al prob­lems [77] and an almost 50% stock-price decline, the finan­cial insti­tu­tion with prob­a­bly the strongest ties to the con­tro­ver­sial New York busi­ness­man.

But the rela­tions at times have been rocky. Deutsche Bank’s giant invest­ment-bank­ing unit stopped work­ing with Mr. Trump after an acri­mo­nious legal spat, even as anoth­er arm of the com­pa­ny con­tin­ued to loan him mon­ey.

Oth­er Wall Street banks, after doing exten­sive busi­ness with Mr. Trump in the 1980s and 1990s, pulled back in part due to frus­tra­tion with his busi­ness prac­tices but also because he moved away from real-estate projects that required financ­ing, accord­ing to bank offi­cials. Cit­i­group Inc., J.P. Mor­gan Chase & Co. and Mor­gan Stan­ley are among the banks that don’t cur­rent­ly work with him.

At Gold­man Sachs Group Inc., bankers “know bet­ter than to pitch” a Trump-relat­ed deal, said a for­mer Gold­man exec­u­tive. Gold­man offi­cials say there is lit­tle over­lap between its core invest­ment-bank­ing group and Mr. Trump’s busi­ness­es.

Deutsche Bank’s rela­tion­ship with Mr. Trump dates to the 1990s. The bank, eager to expand in the U.S. via com­mer­cial-real-estate lend­ing, set out to woo big New York devel­op­ers such as Mr. Trump and Har­ry Mack­lowe.

One of the bank’s first loans to Mr. Trump, in 1998, was $125 mil­lion to ren­o­vate the office build­ing at 40 Wall Street. More deals soon fol­lowed, with the bank agree­ing over the next few years to loan or help under­write bonds worth a total of more than $1.3 bil­lion for Trump enti­ties.

By 2005, Deutsche Bank had emerged as one of Mr. Trump’s lead­ing bankers. That year, the Ger­man bank and oth­ers lent a Trump enti­ty $640 mil­lion to build the 92-sto­ry Trump Inter­na­tion­al Hotel and Tow­er in Chica­go. Deutsche Bank offi­cials bad­ly want­ed the deal because it came with a $12.5 mil­lion fee attached, said a per­son famil­iar with the mat­ter.

Mr. Trump charmed the bankers, fly­ing them on his pri­vate Boe­ing 727 jet, accord­ing to peo­ple who trav­eled with him.

But when the hous­ing bub­ble burst, the rela­tion­ship frayed.

In 2008, Mr. Trump failed to pay $334 mil­lion he owed on the Chica­go loan because of lack­lus­ter sales of the building’s units. He then sued Deutsche Bank. His argu­ment was that the eco­nom­ic cri­sis con­sti­tut­ed a “force majeure”—an unfore­seen event such as war or nat­ur­al disaster—that should excuse the repay­ment until con­di­tions improved.

His lawyers were inspired to invoke the clause after hear­ing for­mer Fed­er­al Reserve chair­man Alan Greenspan describe the cri­sis as a “once-in-a-cen­tu­ry cred­it tsuna­mi,” accord­ing to a per­son who worked on the case for Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump also attacked Deutsche Bank’s lend­ing prac­tices and said that as a big bank, it was par­tial­ly respon­si­ble for caus­ing the finan­cial cri­sis. He sought $3 bil­lion in dam­ages.

Deutsche Bank in turn sued Mr. Trump, say­ing it was owed $40 mil­lion that the busi­ness­man had per­son­al­ly guar­an­teed in case his com­pa­ny was unable to repay the loan.

Deutsche Bank argued that Mr. Trump had a cav­a­lier his­to­ry toward banks, quot­ing from his 2007 book, “Think Big And Kick Ass In Busi­ness And Life.”

“I fig­ured it was the bank’s prob­lem, not mine,” Mr. Trump wrote, accord­ing to the law­suit. “What the hell did I care? I actu­al­ly told one bank, ‘I told you you shouldn’t have loaned me that mon­ey. I told you that god­damn deal was no good.’”

The court reject­ed Mr. Trump’s argu­ments but the suit forced Deutsche Bank to the nego­ti­at­ing table. The two sides agreed to set­tle their suits out of court in 2009. The fol­low­ing year, they extend­ed the orig­i­nal loan by five years. It was paid off in 2012—with the help of a loan from the Ger­man firm’s pri­vate bank.

While Deutsche Bank didn’t lose mon­ey on the deal, the fra­cas soured its invest­ment bankers on work­ing with Mr. Trump. “He was per­sona non gra­ta after that,” said a banker who worked on the deal.

But not every­one with­in Deutsche Bank want­ed to sev­er the rela­tion­ship. The company’s pri­vate-bank­ing arm, which caters to ultra­rich fam­i­lies and indi­vid­u­als, picked up the slack, lend­ing well over $300 mil­lion to Trump enti­ties in the fol­low­ing years. . . .

8. The fact that Don­ald Trump recent­ly bor­rowed a large sum a mon­ey to one of the finan­cial world’s biggest ser­i­al reg­u­la­to­ry vio­la­tors should become an issue in the 2016. So far, it has­n’t.

“Trump Has a Con­flict-of-Inter­est Prob­lem No Oth­er White House Can­di­date Ever Had” by Russ Choma and David Corn; Moth­er Jones; 6/01/2016. [35]

He owes at least $100 mil­lion to a for­eign bank that’s bat­tled with US reg­u­la­tors.

In his most recent finan­cial dis­clo­sure state­ment [78], Don­ald Trump notes he has bil­lions of dol­lars in assets. But the pre­sump­tive GOP nom­i­nee also has a tremen­dous load of debt that includes five loans each over $50 mil­lion. (The dis­clo­sure form, which pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates must sub­mit, does not com­pel can­di­dates to reveal the spe­cif­ic amount of any loans that exceed $50 mil­lion, and Trump has cho­sen not to pro­vide details.) Two of those mega­loans are held by Deutsche Bank, which is based in Ger­many but has US sub­sidiaries. And this prompts a ques­tion that no oth­er major Amer­i­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date has had to face: What are the impli­ca­tions of the chief exec­u­tive of the US gov­ern­ment being in hock for $100 mil­lion (or more) to a for­eign enti­ty that has tried to evade laws aimed at cur­tail­ing risky finan­cial shenani­gans, that was recent­ly caught manip­u­lat­ing mar­kets around the world, and that attempts to influ­ence the US gov­ern­ment?

9. Equi­ties mar­kets have been waver­ing late­ly, in part because of wor­ries about Deutsche Bank. It is inter­est­ing and sig­nif­i­cant that cam­paign analy­sis and dis­cus­sion (with the excep­tion of the Moth­er Jones arti­cle above) have not fac­tored the Trump/Deutsche rela­tion­ship into their eval­u­a­tion.

“Deutsche Bank Trou­bles Raise Fears of Glob­al Shock” by Peter S. Good­man; The New York Times; 9/30/2016. [36]

Germany’s largest bank appears in dan­ger, send­ing stock mar­kets world­wide on a wild ride. Yet the biggest source of wor­ry is less about its finances than a vast tan­gle of unknowns — not least, whether Europe can muster the will to mount a res­cue in the event of an emer­gency.

In short, fears that Europe lacks the cohe­sion to avoid a finan­cial cri­sis may be enhanc­ing the threat of one.

The imme­di­ate source of alarm is the health of Deutsche Bank [37], whose vast and sprawl­ing oper­a­tions are entan­gled with the fates of invest­ment hous­es from Tokyo to Lon­don to New York.

Deutsche is star­ing at a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar fine from the Jus­tice Depart­ment for its enthu­si­as­tic par­tic­i­pa­tion in Wall Street’s fes­ti­val of tox­ic mort­gage prod­ucts in the years lead­ing up to finan­cial cri­sis of 2008. Giv­en Deutsche’s myr­i­ad oth­er trou­bles — a role in the manip­u­la­tion of a finan­cial bench­mark, claims of trades that vio­lat­ed Russ­ian sanc­tions and a gen­er­al­ized sense of con­fu­sion about its mis­sion — the Amer­i­can pur­suit of a stiff penal­ty comes at an inop­por­tune time. . . .

. . . . The Euro­pean Union has become a focus of pop­ulist anger, fur­ther con­strain­ing options. And Ger­many has opposed bailouts for lenders in oth­er lands, mak­ing a Deutsche res­cue polit­i­cal­ly radioac­tive.

All of which adds to wor­ries that Deutsche amounts to a fire burn­ing, one that might yet become an infer­no, while the fire depart­ment is con­sumed with exis­ten­tial argu­ments over its pur­pose. If the alarm sounds, no one can be sure what, if any­thing, will hap­pen.

In the worst case — now high­ly unlike­ly — the bank could col­lapse, incit­ing a scram­ble to pull mon­ey from mar­kets around the globe. Insti­tu­tions that trade with Deutsche would feel an urge to col­lect their cash imme­di­ate­ly. Giv­en the scale of the bank’s bal­ance sheet — 1.8 tril­lion euros, or more than $2 tril­lion — that incli­na­tion is like­ly to spread to every crevice of finance. Economies would grind to a halt. Jobs and for­tunes would dis­ap­pear. . . .

. . . . The biggest form of insur­ance against pan­ic is con­fi­dence that larg­er play­ers — in this case, Euro­pean author­i­ties — stand at the ready to mount a res­cue, should one be required.

But con­fi­dence is not some­thing Europe has proved ter­ri­bly skilled at instill­ing. Its abil­i­ties to mar­shal a bailout are dubi­ous. New rules intro­duced to dis­cour­age reck­less invest­ments by large finan­cial insti­tu­tions bar tax­pay­er-financed bailouts.

Ger­many has been adamant that these stric­tures be applied, rebuff­ing a recent attempt by the Ital­ian prime min­is­ter, Mat­teo Ren­zi, to secure an exemp­tion allow­ing him to inject tax­pay­er mon­ey into the Ital­ian bank­ing sys­tem. The optics of Ger­many seek­ing a way around the rules for its largest lender would be espe­cial­ly prob­lem­at­ic.

The Deutsche chief and the Ger­man gov­ern­ment both shot down a report [79] that the bank had asked that a bailout be pre­pared.

More broad­ly, Ger­many has been the most fer­vent voice that reck­less eco­nom­ic pur­suits should be pun­ished, no mat­ter the human toll.

As Athens has nego­ti­at­ed with Euro­pean author­i­ties and the Inter­na­tion­al Mon­e­tary Fund for a series of bailouts, Ger­many has demand­ed deep cuts to Greek pub­lic spend­ing, sharply cut­ting pen­sion pay­ments to retirees. The Greek gov­ern­ment used much of the bailout mon­ey to pay back debts to Ger­man banks.

Against this back­drop, a Ger­man bailout of its largest bank would rein­vig­o­rate accu­sa­tions that it uses the Euro­pean Union as a cov­er to pur­sue its own nation­al inter­ests.

10. Amid reas­sur­ances that Deutsche Bank will weath­er the storm, we note: ” . . . . the €42 tril­lion worth of deriv­a­tives that sit on its books, an amount about 11 times the size of the Ger­man econ­o­my. . . .”

“Deutsche Bank’s Appetite for Risk Throws Off Its Bal­ance” by Lan­don Thomas, Jr.; The New York Times; 10/02/2016. [38]

The glob­al bank­ing giants — think of JPMor­gan Chase or HSBC — make a nice return by cap­tur­ing their share of the tril­lions of dol­lars that course through finan­cial mar­kets each day.

But few are as reliant on this busi­ness — be it swap­ping cur­ren­cies, sell­ing bonds or struc­tur­ing deriv­a­tives — as Deutsche Bank [37], the giant lender that has made its name not as a home for Ger­man savers but as a place for hedge funds and oth­er risk-lov­ing investors to put on some of their bold­est finan­cial bets.

And that is why its swoon­ing stock price last week set off alarm bells in finance min­istries, cen­tral bank suites and trad­ing floors from Hong Kong to New York.

More than eight years after the col­lapse of Lehman Broth­ers sent shock waves around the world, the fear is whether Deutsche Bank and its high­ly lever­aged bal­ance sheet of 1.6 tril­lion euros might teeter and set off anoth­er bout of finan­cial con­ta­gion.

Those wor­ries [80] calmed down some­what late last week as Deutsche Bank’s shares rose after reports that the bank may be close to cut­ting a deal with the Unit­ed States Jus­tice Depart­ment regard­ing the fine it must pay for sell­ing tox­ic mort­gages dur­ing the finan­cial cri­sis.

There has also been a grow­ing real­iza­tion that Deutsche Bank, even with its thin cush­ion of cash, is in much bet­ter finan­cial shape than Lehman Broth­ers was. In a let­ter to employ­ees on Fri­day, Deutsche’s chief exec­u­tive, John Cryan, high­light­ed the “strong fun­da­men­tals” of the bank.

It has €220 bil­lion, or $247 bil­lion, in ready liq­uid­i­ty, com­pared with $45 bil­lion for Lehman in 2007, and the bank can also tap cen­tral banks in the Unit­ed States and in Europe for a finan­cial life­line if need be.

That does not mean, how­ev­er, that traders and reg­u­la­tors will stop fret­ting about, among oth­er things, the €42 tril­lion worth of deriv­a­tives that sit on its books, an amount about 11 times the size of the Ger­man econ­o­my. . . .

11. It is also worth not­ing that pre­cise­ly how healthy Deutsche Bank is or isn’t is, past a point, a mat­ter of con­jec­ture. The Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank skewed Deutsche Bank’s stress test.

“Deutsche Received Spe­cial Treat­ment in EU Stress Tests Via ECB Con­ces­sion” by Lau­ra Noo­nan and Car­o­line Bin­ham and James Shot­ter; Finan­cial Times ; 10/11/2016; p. 1. [39]

Deutsche Bank [40] was giv­en spe­cial treat­ment in the sum­mer EU stress tests that promised to restore faith in Europe’s banks by assess­ing all of their finances in the same way.

Germany’s biggest lender, which has seen its share price fall as much as 22 per cent in recent weeks on fears that it could face a US fine of up to $14bn [41], has been using the results of the July stress tests as evi­dence of its healthy finances.

But the Finan­cial Times has learnt that Deutsche’s result was boost­ed by a spe­cial con­ces­sion agreed by its super­vi­sor, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank.

Deutsche’s [81] results includ­ed the $4bn pro­ceeds from sell­ing its stake in Chi­nese lender Hua Xia even though the deal had not been done by the end of 2015, the offi­cial cut-off point for trans­ac­tions to be includ­ed.

The Hua Xia sale was agreed in Decem­ber 2015. It has still not been com­plet­ed and now faces a delay after miss­ing a reg­u­la­to­ry dead­line [82] last month, though the bank is still con­fi­dent of com­ple­tion this year. . . .

. . . . “This [Deutsche’s treat­ment] is per­plex­ing,” said Chris Wheel­er, an ana­lyst at Atlantic Equi­ties. “The cir­cum­stances mean that it is inevitable the mar­ket watch­ers will be sus­pi­cious and have some con­cern about the verac­i­ty of the results.” . . . .

12. Don­ald Trump has flip-flopped about the Fed­er­al Reserve and Janet Yellen. After say­ing benign things about her, and appear­ing to endorse low inter­est rates, Trump has flip flopped, promis­ing to replace her and exert pres­sure to raise inter­est rates. Note that Trump’s advis­ers advo­cate a return to the gold stan­dard and are con­temp­tu­ous of the Fed­er­al Reserve Bank, rather like Eddie the Friend­ly Spook (Snow­den.) We will cov­er this at greater length next week.

” . . . . Trump’s eco­nom­ic advis­ers can for the most part be placed in one of three groups. In the first are Lar­ry Kud­low and Judy Shel­ton, the intel­lec­tu­als of the bunch, and both advo­cates of a return to the gold stan­dard. While it has become pop­u­lar among some Repub­li­cans in the past few years, return­ing to the gold stan­dard is dis­missed as a dis­cred­it­ed, fringe idea by near­ly all econ­o­mists and mar­ket par­tic­i­pants. And, for their part, gold-stan­dard sup­port­ers typ­i­cal­ly reject the very idea of a Fed­er­al Reserve, so if Trump were to appoint Kud­low, Shel­ton, or anoth­er gold-stan­dard sup­port­er to the Fed, it would be the most rad­i­cal and poten­tial­ly dam­ag­ing eco­nom­ic move since the dawn of our mod­ern eco­nom­ic sys­tem, after the Great Depres­sion. . . . Final­ly, there’s the group rep­re­sent­ed by Stephen Ban­non, the for­mer Gold­man Sachs banker and Bre­it­bart News chief now head­ing Trump’s cam­paign. Ban­non has not talked much pub­licly about his views of the Fed. But his deep asso­ci­a­tion with the alt-right is worth exam­in­ing: some on the alt-right have expressed con­tempt for the very idea of a healthy econ­o­my. . . . In read­ing sto­ries on Bre­it­bart and oth­er sites con­nect­ed to the awful alt-right move­ment that Trump has embraced, I found it impos­si­ble to iden­ti­fy any over­ar­ch­ing view of how the econ­o­my should work. There were slop­py and occa­sion­al pot­shots at Oba­ma or Yellen, and a gen­er­al con­tempt for the many insti­tu­tions of mod­ern lib­er­al soci­ety. But there were no coher­ent eco­nom­ics. Which brings us back to Trump’s own views. He has no coher­ent plan, no view that can be mapped onto the com­mon range of estab­lished dis­cus­sion, whether left, right, or cen­ter. On Thurs­day, Trump’s cam­paign released his “eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy [43].” Amid the asser­tions that a dra­mat­ic cut in tax­es and reg­u­la­tion will lead to more eco­nom­ic growth and high­er employ­ment, there is no men­tion of the Fed­er­al Reserve. Instead, Trump has offered the pub­lic a gen­er­al, instinc­tive con­tempt for the Fed and its poli­cies. . . .”

“Trump and the Truth: The Inter­est-Rate Flip-Flop” by Adam David­son; The New York­er; 9/15/2016. [42]

This essay is part of a series The New York­er will be run­ning through the elec­tion titled “Trump and the Truth [83].”

Over the past year, Don­ald Trump, who famous­ly nev­er backs down, has attacked, backed down, and then again attacked Janet Yellen, the chair of the Fed­er­al Reserve. He has done it in his way, nev­er acknowl­edg­ing when he says pre­cise­ly the oppo­site of what he has pre­vi­ous­ly said. (Yellen, for her part, has ignored the whole thing.)

Trump’s Yellen cycle began in Octo­ber, when, in an inter­view [84] with The Hill, he accused Yellen of keep­ing down the Fed’s key inter­est rate, known as the Fed funds rate, because Pres­i­dent Oba­ma “doesn’t want to have a reces­sion-slash-depres­sion dur­ing his admin­is­tra­tion.” (This raised the ques­tion, of course, Who expects a Pres­i­dent to want a reces­sion-slash-depres­sion?) By the spring of this year, Trump had revised his think­ing about Yellen. “I have noth­ing against Janet Yellen what­so­ev­er,” he told [85] CNBC, on May 5th. “She’s a very capa­ble per­son. Peo­ple that I know have a very high regard for her.” Trump explained his new­ly rosy view by endors­ing the very pol­i­cy he had mocked a few months ear­li­er. “She’s a low-inter­est-rate per­son; she’s always been a low-inter­est-rate per­son. And I must be hon­est, I’m a low-inter­est-rate per­son.” A cou­ple of weeks lat­er, Trump reit­er­at­ed his hap­py view of the Fed chair. In an inter­view with Reuters [86], he said, “I’m not a per­son that thinks Janet Yellen is doing a bad job.”

This week, Trump was back on the attack. On Mon­day, he told CNBC [87] that Yellen should be “ashamed” of the low-inter­est-rate pol­i­cy that Trump him­self endorsed so ful­ly in May. “She is obvi­ous­ly polit­i­cal, and she’s doing what Oba­ma wants her to do,” he said. Once again, Trump made the claim that there was a secret Oba­ma-Yellen pact to keep rates low, root­ed in their nefar­i­ous desire to pre­vent an eco­nom­ic cri­sis. They both knew, he said, that “as soon as [rates] go up, the stock mar­ket is going to go way down.” On Thurs­day, after giv­ing a speech at the Eco­nom­ic Club of New York, Trump again took aim at the Fed. “The Fed has become very polit­i­cal,” he said [88]. “Beyond any­thing I would have ever thought pos­si­ble.”

It’s impos­si­ble to rec­on­cile Trump’s con­flict­ing state­ments on Yellen and the Fed’s inter­est-rate lev­el. Low inter­est rates can’t be both smart pol­i­cy and evi­dence of cor­rup­tion, just like Yellen can’t be both “very capa­ble” and a shame­ful Oba­ma stooge. But beyond the con­tra­dic­tions, Trump has betrayed a basic mis­un­der­stand­ing of how cen­tral banks work. Take his state­ment that he and Yellen are both “low-inter­est-rate” peo­ple. Yellen, he said, has “always been a low-inter­est-rate per­son.” Cen­tral bankers like to say that the entire point of the Fed­er­al Reserve is to “lean against the wind,” mean­ing that, when the econ­o­my is grow­ing so fast that it risks infla­tion, the Fed rais­es its inter­est rate, and, when eco­nom­ic growth is slug­gish, the Fed low­ers it. In the con­text of cen­tral bank­ing, Yellen is often iden­ti­fied as a “dove,” which means that she is gen­er­al­ly a bit more con­cerned about low­er­ing unem­ploy­ment than about the risks of infla­tion. But call­ing Yellen a “low-inter­est-rate per­son” is like call­ing a doc­tor con­cerned about a patient’s high fever a “low-tem­per­a­ture per­son.” Yellen, like all cen­tral bankers, is not a low-inter­est or high-inter­est per­son. She’s a per­son for what­ev­er inter­est rate is appro­pri­ate, giv­en eco­nom­ic con­di­tions. In her two decades of votes as a senior Fed offi­cial, she has vot­ed for high­er rates plen­ty of times.

Where Trump is most clear­ly and dan­ger­ous­ly wrong is in his accu­sa­tion of polit­i­cal inter­fer­ence by the White House. Yellen doesn’t make deci­sions about the inter­est rate on her own. As chair, she has one vote on the Fed­er­al Reserve’s twelve-mem­ber Open Mar­ket Com­mit­tee, which is cur­rent­ly made up of five mem­bers appoint­ed by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma and sev­en mem­bers who come from region­al Fed­er­al Reserve banks and who are cho­sen by their own boards, made up of bankers, busi­ness­peo­ple, and, in some cas­es, com­mu­ni­ty rep­re­sen­ta­tives. It’s a diverse lot—several mem­bers of the com­mit­tee have shown no par­tic­u­lar loy­al­ty to the Pres­i­dent. What’s more, the board’s deci­sion-mak­ing process about the inter­est rate is pub­lic. We know how each of the twelve mem­bers vote at each meet­ing of the com­mit­tee. The Fed even releas­es a “dot plot,” which shows how the dif­fer­ent mem­bers expect to vote over the com­ing years.

This pub­lic­ness has been designed for good rea­son. The Fed funds rate is the inter­est rate at which banks lend mon­ey to one anoth­er for overnight loans. In prac­tice, this rate sets the tem­po of the entire glob­al econ­o­my, and changes to it rip­ple through every aspect of our eco­nom­ic lives. Sud­den and unex­plained moves would cre­ate pan­ic. That the Fed hasn’t raised its rate since Decem­ber can­not be explained as some nefar­i­ous plot joint­ly con­coct­ed by Oba­ma and Yellen. It is ful­ly explained by a board of tech­nocrats study­ing the data and com­ing to pret­ty much the same con­clu­sion that near­ly every­body else who looks at the data reach­es: our econ­o­my is still in a peri­od of slug­gish growth and, despite Tuesday’s cheery eco­nom­ic [89] news, a Fed-induced tight­en­ing could send mil­lions of Amer­i­cans back into unem­ploy­ment and gen­er­al­ly wreak hav­oc on the economy—a point Trump him­self endorsed in his brief pro-Yellen phase a few months back.

The Fed is far from per­fect and has earned its share of fair crit­i­cism. But what makes Trump’s views on cen­tral-bank pol­i­cy par­tic­u­lar­ly trou­bling is that it is impos­si­ble to know where they are com­ing from. The next Pres­i­dent will be able to select a Fed chair and sev­er­al Fed­er­al Reserve gov­er­nors. By this point in a Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, the major-par­ty can­di­dates’ eco­nom­ic pref­er­ences are typ­i­cal­ly well estab­lished, and usu­al­ly embod­ied by their eco­nom­ic advis­ers. Whether you embraced them or despised them as can­di­dates, since the nine­teen-sev­en­ties, the major-par­ty can­di­dates have made it rel­a­tive­ly easy to know how they would approach the Fed if elect­ed. Notably, can­di­dates in recent decades have all shown enor­mous def­er­ence to the Fed as an inde­pen­dent, non­par­ti­san insti­tu­tion. Rea­gan, Clin­ton, George W. Bush, and Oba­ma all reap­point­ed the Fed chair of their cross-par­ty pre­de­ces­sor. Trump has said he will not reap­point Yellen to a sec­ond term. So how would he pick her suc­ces­sor? What frame­work would he use?

Trump’s eco­nom­ic advis­ers can for the most part be placed in one of three groups. In the first are Lar­ry Kud­low and Judy Shel­ton, the intel­lec­tu­als of the bunch, and both advo­cates of a return to the gold stan­dard. While it has become pop­u­lar among some Repub­li­cans in the past few years, return­ing to the gold stan­dard is dis­missed as a dis­cred­it­ed, fringe idea by near­ly all econ­o­mists and mar­ket par­tic­i­pants. And, for their part, gold-stan­dard sup­port­ers typ­i­cal­ly reject the very idea of a Fed­er­al Reserve, so if Trump were to appoint Kud­low, Shel­ton, or anoth­er gold-stan­dard sup­port­er to the Fed, it would be the most rad­i­cal and poten­tial­ly dam­ag­ing eco­nom­ic move since the dawn of our mod­ern eco­nom­ic sys­tem, after the Great Depres­sion. (Just how awful an idea return­ing to the gold stan­dard would be is dif­fi­cult to con­vey in a short space, but it’s worth point­ing out that, under the gold stan­dard, reces­sions and deep depres­sions were fre­quent, and the cen­tral bank and gov­ern­ment offi­cials had no abil­i­ty to respond.)

The sec­ond group of Trump advis­ers is, famous­ly, made up of busi­ness­peo­ple: all those Steves—Feinberg, Mnuchin, Roth, Calk, and the oth­ers who come from real estate and finance. As a group, they, like Trump, have not expressed great knowl­edge of or inter­est in mon­e­tary pol­i­cy.

Final­ly, there’s the group rep­re­sent­ed by Stephen Ban­non, the for­mer Gold­man Sachs banker and Bre­it­bart News chief now head­ing Trump’s cam­paign. Ban­non has not talked much pub­licly about his views of the Fed. But his deep asso­ci­a­tion with the alt-right is worth exam­in­ing: some on the alt-right have expressed con­tempt for the very idea of a healthy econ­o­my. A guide to the alt-right [90], pub­lished by Bre­it­bart in March, iden­ti­fied a sub­set of the move­ment, known as “nat­ur­al con­ser­v­a­tives.” For these peo­ple, the authors explained, a strong econ­o­my isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly some­thing to wish for. “Cul­ture, not eco­nom­ic effi­cien­cy, is the para­mount val­ue,” the guide states. “More specif­i­cal­ly, [nat­ur­al con­ser­v­a­tives] val­ue the great­est cul­tur­al expres­sions of their tribe. Their per­fect soci­ety does not nec­es­sar­i­ly pro­duce a soar­ing GDP, but it does pro­duce sym­phonies, basil­i­cas and Old Mas­ters.” This out­look was con­trast­ed with the views of “an estab­lish­ment Repub­li­can,” who has an “over­rid­ing belief in the glo­ry of the free mar­ket, [who] might be moved to tear down a cathe­dral and replace it with a strip mall if it made eco­nom­ic sense.”

Read­ing these pas­sages helped me under­stand some­thing that I had found con­fus­ing. In read­ing sto­ries on Bre­it­bart and oth­er sites con­nect­ed to the awful alt-right move­ment that Trump has embraced, I found it impos­si­ble to iden­ti­fy any over­ar­ch­ing view of how the econ­o­my should work. There were slop­py and occa­sion­al pot­shots at Oba­ma or Yellen, and a gen­er­al con­tempt for the many insti­tu­tions of mod­ern lib­er­al soci­ety. But there were no coher­ent eco­nom­ics. Which brings us back to Trump’s own views. He has no coher­ent plan, no view that can be mapped onto the com­mon range of estab­lished dis­cus­sion, whether left, right, or cen­ter. On Thurs­day, Trump’s cam­paign released his “eco­nom­ic pol­i­cy [43].” Amid the asser­tions that a dra­mat­ic cut in tax­es and reg­u­la­tion will lead to more eco­nom­ic growth and high­er employ­ment, there is no men­tion of the Fed­er­al Reserve. Instead, Trump has offered the pub­lic a gen­er­al, instinc­tive con­tempt for the Fed and its poli­cies. . . .

13. The nature of Trump’s fol­low­ers is to be gleaned from the fol­low­ing:

” ‘Vir­tu­al­ly Every Alt-Right Nazi Is Vol­un­teer­ing for the Trump Cam­paign’ ” by Ed Maz­za; Huff­in­g­ton Post; 9/30/2016. [91]

It seems Don­ald Trump [92] has unit­ed one group of vot­ers: Neo-Nazis.

“Trump had me at ‘build a wall,’” Andrew Anglin, edi­tor of the white suprema­cist web­site Dai­ly Stormer, told the Los Ange­les Times. “Vir­tu­al­ly every alt-right Nazi I know is vol­un­teer­ing for the Trump cam­paign [93].”

The com­ments con­firm reports from through­out the cam­paign sea­son that white suprema­cists were mobi­liz­ing for the Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date and excit­ed by his plat­form. Trump has picked up endorse­ments from lead­ers and pub­li­ca­tions in the neo-Nazi move­ment [94] since ear­ly in his can­di­da­cy. Some mem­bers of the move­ment have even made robo­calls on his behalf [95]. . . .

14. There has been a con­sid­er­able amount of cov­er­age of Don­ald Trump’s thin­ly veiled exhor­ta­tion for his pro-12nd Amend­ment fol­low­ers to shoot Hillary Clin­ton. Trump is also encour­ag­ing his fol­low­ers to show up at polling places to guard against the [fraud­u­lent] prospect of vot­er fraud. Many see this as an exhor­ta­tion to vio­lent­ly intim­i­date minor­i­ty vot­ers. If Trump los­es, it will be inter­est­ing to see how those fol­low­ers who have been regaled that the elec­tion is “rigged,” will act.

The bet­ting mon­ey, here, is that we will see a sig­nif­i­cant uptick in rightwing ter­ror and mur­der, much of it the “lone-wolf/lead­er­less resis­tance” vari­ety for which Glenn Green­wald [96] ran legal inter­fer­ence.

Again, the point is that the Trumpenkampfver­bande is not going away. Whether led by a Don­ald Trump, Jr., who eschews his father’s lock­er-room ban­ter, or some­one else, the Under­ground Reich is mov­ing above ground.

“Dan­ger on Novem­ber 9th” by Josh Mar­shall; Talk­ing Points Memo Editor’s Blog; 10/12/2016. [97]

I’ve been want­i­ng to dis­cuss this. But so much has been hap­pen­ing it keeps get­ting pushed back to the next day or the next post. Quite sim­ply, every­body needs to be pay­ing close atten­tion to what hap­pens on Novem­ber 9th.

It now seems quite like­ly that Hillary Clin­ton will win the Novem­ber elec­tion and become the next Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. But Don­ald Trump has been for months push­ing the idea that the elec­tion may be stolen from him by some mix of vot­er fraud (by racial and eth­nic minori­ties) or more sys­temic elec­tion rig­ging by per­sons unknown. Polls show that large num­bers of his sup­port­ers believe this.

Now, here at TPM we’ve been writ­ing and report­ing about the GOP’s ‘vote fraud’ scam going back almost 15 years. It’s a huge­ly impor­tant issue. But to date it has main­ly been used to heat up Repub­li­can vot­ers and dri­ve state-based vot­er sup­pres­sion mea­sures. After a decade-plus push­ing the idea, Repub­li­cans passed var­i­ous vot­er sup­pres­sion mea­sures in numer­ous states after the 2010 midterm elec­tion. But to date, the ‘vot­er fraud’ scam has nev­er been ful­ly weaponized as a way to dele­git­imize and even resist a spe­cif­ic elec­tion, cer­tain­ly not a nation­al elec­tion. As Rick Hasen explains here, Don­ald Trump is doing that now. And he is suc­ceed­ing in as much as he’s con­vinced sub­stan­tial num­bers of his sup­port­ers that if he los­es it will be because the elec­tion was stolen. [44]

It is a very, very dan­ger­ous step when a pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee open­ly threat­ens to jail his oppo­nent if he wins. It’s no less dan­ger­ous when a can­di­date push­es the idea that an elec­tion will be stolen and lays the ground­work for resist­ing the result. That’s hap­pen­ing. It is dif­fi­cult to over­state the soci­etal ben­e­fit of being able to take it almost as an absolute giv­en and assump­tion that no mat­ter how intense and close-fought an elec­tion gets, vir­tu­al­ly every­one will accept the result the day after. Under­min­ing that assump­tion is of a piece with intro­duc­ing into the polit­i­cal are­na the idea that peo­ple who lose elec­tion might lose more than the elec­tion: loss of mon­ey, free­dom, or worse etc.

I’ll put a pin in the dis­cus­sion for now. But this is some­thing to watch very close­ly as the next thir­ty days unfold. It is a very, very big deal. Trump has been mak­ing this argu­ment explic­it­ly for weeks. As I said, we’re had the vot­er fraud rack­et for years. It’s nev­er been weaponized like this As the pres­sure on him grows and his own anger mounts there’s every rea­son to think he’ll keep upping the ante.